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HK records 73 new Covid cases, mostly from dance cluster

23 November 2020

 By The SUN 

Hsin Kuang Banquet Hall is among 7 new dance venues linked to the new cluster of infections

Health officials have reported 73 new coronavirus cases today, Nov 23, the highest number of infections in three months. More than 70 other people have tested preliminary positive for the disease.

Fifty of the new confirmed cases are linked to the outbreak in dance clubs, which now has a total of 132 infections, the largest cluster ever recorded in Hong Kong.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection, it is difficult to predict to what extent the cluster will grow.

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As it is, some of the cases are already third-generation infections, meaning those acquired from close contacts of the people who had visited the tainted venues.

“It depends on the behavior of the general public and the cases…whether they will adopt social distancing measures, whether they will stop going out for a while to stop transmission,” she said.

“It needs the cooperation of people of Hong Kong because we don’t know who has already been infected.”

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Chuang also said the number of dance clubs where infections have occurred has risen, from 14 to 21. She said compulsory testing will also be required for those who visited the seven newly identified dance clubs from the start of the month.

“For the seven venues, another notice will have to be issued and the deadline should be at a later date that that for the existing venues because we have to allow members of the public to go and have the test,” said Chuang.

The newly added dance venues include Kwan Ho Seafood Restaurant in Mei Foo, Hsin Kuang Banquet Hall in Shatin, Victor Yan Studio in Cheung Sha Wan, The World Dancer Performing Arts Federation in Tsim Sha Tsui, Starway Music Studio, also in TST, Double Happiness Restaurant in Kowloon Bay, and an entertainment production company in Aberdeen.

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Today’s other cases included 13 other locally acquired infections, including eight whose sources are unknown.

The remaining 10 are all imported cases, including two new arrivals from Indonesia, one a returning resident, and the other, a domestic worker. There was also one crew member from Russia, two students from the UK, and returnees from the UK, UAE and India.

Chuang and Yu at today's news briefing

According to Chuang, the new cases linked to the dance club cluster include two staff members and a part-time dance instructor at the True Light Middle School, whose students will now have to be tested for Covid-9.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang klwentong Dream Love

 Another female linked to the clubs works at the Union Hospital, and one of her colleagues has also tested positive for the virus. Chuang said officials are investigating whether the cases indicate a transmission has occurred within the hospital.

All these suggest, says Chuang, that people should stop gathering, not just for dancing. She reiterated an appeal for those who experience symptoms to seek medical help immediately.

“Please, if you feel unwell, please take a test immediately, or see a doctor,” she said.

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As in the past few days, the untraceable cases involved people from all walks of life, from across Hong Kong. They included an unemployed man who lives in Mong Kok, and four housewives who live in Wong Tai Sin, Tsuen Wan, Ho Man Tin and North Point.

Another patient who works in Mong Kok has a close contact who tested preliminary positive, and studies at Good Hope School. The school has been asked to close for up to two days for disinfection.

According to Dr Linda Yu, chief manager of the Hospital Authority, the community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo will start taking in patients starting this Wednesday to release the pressure on public hospitals, in anticipation of a further surge in cases.

The AWE facility has 1,900 beds, and was designed to accept patients who are in stable condition, asymptomatic, or are younger and healthier. Dr Yu said those who are preliminary positive for the virus could also be accommodated.

As of 9am today, a total of 224 confirmed patients are being treated in 19 public hospitals. Among them, eight are in critical condition, two are stable, and the remaining 214 are in stable condition.

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